I had the pleasure of chatting to novelist Bella Osborne to discuss all things Devon, the setting for her book Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay; chat about her latest project and find out exactly what you expect from picking up one of her books!
- So to begin with, how are you and how has your 2021 been so far?
Hi Ella, Thanks so much for having me on your blog. It feels a little like I shouldn’t say too much in case I jinx things so I’ll just say that I have been keeping busy on the work front and that I am hugely grateful that my family are all healthy and that our local supermarket has managed to keep me supplied with biscuits and wine - so it's all good!
- Your book "Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay" is set in Devon, what made you choose that as your setting for the book?
I love that part of the country and when the character of Daisy popped up in my mind she was on a beach. I think there is something quite special about Devon and its beautiful coastline which lent itself to the story so Ottercombe Bay was born. When we visited the area for a holiday I was able to firm up in my mind where the fictional town of Ottercombe Bay would be on a map - it’s near Buddleigh Salterton where the River Otter meets the sea. It also has a lot in common with the coastal village of Beer.
- I loved the book and I'm sure a lot of my readers will too! How did you find the writing process?
Thank you. I’m a project manager by trade so planning out my novels makes complete sense to me but it’s not a process that works for everyone. I also have a bit of a hoarding problem when it comes to sticky notes so those two traits work very well together when it comes to planning out my stories. Once I’d got to know my characters and plotted out the story it was a dream to write as it just flowed. Not all books are like that!
- Do you think your writing and work life has been affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic?
I agreed an additional contract with Aria Fiction during 2020 which meant I was super busy through most of the pandemic but that worked out perfectly. I was able to put in the hours as there really wasn’t anything else to do. An added bonus was that I could escape into a Covid-free world where people could hug and kiss and that was really lovely.
- Just in case the readers of my blog haven't read one of your books, could you tell them what they could expect of a Bella Osborne novel and Ottercombe Bay
To date my books have all been romantic comedies with a focus on female friendships and the curve balls that life throws at us. Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay is a standalone story about Daisy Wickens who has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.
With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?
- Besides writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to read and cook and spend time watching films and playing board games with my family.
- Are you working on anything at the moment?
It’s all go at the moment! I have my eighth book publishing on 22nd July titled The Promise of Summer which I have absolutely loved writing and I hope readers love Ruby’s story too. After years of dating losers, cheats and one guy who did something unrepeatable to her kettle, Ruby has all but given up on romance. But then a stranger sits next to her on a train to London and explains his plan to propose to the woman of his dreams. Maybe true love does exist after all? When the man accidentally leaves the engagement ring behind, Ruby is determined to save the day. But she hasn't counted on fellow passenger Curtis stepping in and insisting he should be the one to track the stranger down.
As summer closes in, the unlikely pair make a promise to reunite the ring with its owner. But can they find their own happy ever after along the way?
I have the first book in my new contract, The Library, out on 2nd September which isn’t a romance. The Library is more of a book club read and tells the story of 16-year-old Tom and 72-year-old Maggie who come together to try to save their local library.
I have just delivered the first draft of a romantic comedy for next summer with Avon, HarperCollins and I’m now working on edits for my second book club read with Aria.
Phew - I’m exhausted just listing it all. I am hoping for a break in August!
- What would your perfect holiday be?
A perfect holiday would likely be somewhere in the Caribbean as it is one of my favourite places. Their laid back attitude and climate is perfect for me and it’s even better when you add a few cocktails. I enjoy going abroad and exploring new places but this year I will just be happy to spend time away from home with my family where someone else does the cooking!
- Who is your favourite character from Ottercombe Bay and why?
It’s probably Bug because he might be small be he is mighty, with a mind of his own. He certainly gives Daisy the run around - quite literally!
- If our audience wanted to get into writing like you, what steps should they take?
Write what you would like to read and get something down on the page. I think writing for yourself is the best way to start and just enjoy it. If something comes of it then that’s an added bonus.
- Thank you so much for coming on the blog today Bella! To finish, what is one last piece of advice you would give our audience?
Thanks Ella, it’s been a pleasure. I think what lockdown has taught me is that whilst I love my family I am also hugely grateful that I like them too - so surround yourself with people you would be happy to be in lockdown with!
It was so lovely to have a chat with Bella and discuss her latest projects! I hope you have that well earnt break soon!
If you would like to read one of Bella's books, just follow the links below!
The Promise of Summer -
Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay -